History of the University

University Presidents

Portrait of Richard Thatcher

Richard Thatcher

President of Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma


Biographical Information
  1846  Born March 23, 1846 in Alton, Illinois to Rev. John Wesley Thatcher and Virginia Bolls-Thatcher
Some sources list his birth date as on or around March 10, 1846 
  1869  Married Melissa D. DeFord of Ashley, Illinois in September 1869
Their 35 year marriage produced five children - a son who died in infancy and four daughters: Edna, Mae, Blanche, and Ethel 
  1909  Died November 28, 1909 in Edmond, Oklahoma of tuberculosis 

  1866- 1878  B.S. and Master's in Mathematics, Doctor of Divinity from McKendree College, Illinois, graduating with honors
He would leave school to teach and return to finish his degree in 1878 

  1861  At age 15 he enlisted in the 111th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers of the Union Army as a drummer boy under General Sherman's command 
  1864  Thatcher was taken prisoner on July 22, 1864 and confined to Andersonville Prison
He developed a lung and throat condition while in prison and never fully recovered 
  1865  Discharged from the Union Army on June 6 
  1868, c.  Superintendent of City Schools in Severy, Kansas
Prior to holding this position, he taught school for a few years in Illinois 
  1887, c. - 1890  Superintendent of Neodesha Schools, Kansas 
  1890  Moved to Edmond, Oklahoma and purchased the Central Hotel
Received appointment to work at the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C. 
  1891  Returned to Edmond in the Autumn
Appointed "Principal/President" of then Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma by the Board of Education on October 15 
  1893  Resigned his position as principal at the end of the 1892-1893 school year
Continued on the faculty as Head of the Mathematics Department of Territorial Normal School 
  1894  May, Principal of the Edmond Schools for the 1894-1895 school year while continuing to teach at the Territorial Normal School 
  1908 - 1909  Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at then Central State Normal School 

Awards and Affiliations
  1861 - 1864   Veteran of the Civil War 
    33rd Degree Mason, Second Master of Edmond Masonic Lodge 
    Member of the Grand Army of the Republic